One of my favorite reasons to cruise through blogland is to get new ideas for projects. I hadn't done a lot of knitting lately, and was looking for some inspiration, when I saw this design on Kristin's blog k-line.
City Cardigan to Knit -- a pattern by Val Love at Dovetail Designs, available through Patternfish.
One of the reasons I enjoy reading Kristin's blog is her thoughtful approach to the things she makes. This knitting project was no exception, and the design challenges she mentioned got me interested in trying this pattern out for myself. It didn't hurt that I could use a warmer weather cardigan either.
This is a cropped length, worked from the top down, short sleeved cardigan with a small shawl collar. As written, the instructions have you cast on at the top of the back piece, knit down to the bottom of the armhole, then put these stitches aside and knit the front pieces down to the same spot.
I also followed this path, but decided to change things up just a bit. Here's where I am now, and the changes I've made --
Because I have narrow shoulders, and Kristin had mentioned that the pattern's shoulders were wide, I brought them in a bit. This meant that I would need to add the stitches removed from the shoulder line back into piece at the bottom of the armholes. You can see how this curves the armhole from the photo I think.
Once the back piece was done to the armholes it was time to pick up stitches for one of the fronts. Again, as written, the pattern called for picking up a certain number of stitches for the front shoulders, then casting on additional stitches for the twisted rib border -- from there you would be knitting downward, as you had done for the back. When it came time to knit the back of the collar, you were instructed to pick up the twisted rib stitches from the initial cast on and then rib up to the mid-point of the back neck. It is extremely difficult to pick up ribbed stitches cast on in one direction, then knit them up in the opposite direction and not have some line of demarcation, no matter how neatly you perform the operation. The reason is the structure of the stitches themselves -- when picking up and knitting in the opposite direction you will always be one half stitch 'off' -- not quite as noticeable in plain stockinette, rather more so in ribbing. Mosey over to Tech Knitting for a better description of the whys and wherefores -- in fact, spend some time there and you'll learn quite a few things about improving your knitting.
In any event, to avoid having a "blurp" no matter how small, I decided to instead cast on for the back neck ribbing, knit down, then pick up the shoulder stitches for the front. This way, I will have a seam at the back of the neck, but nothing marring the front. I decided I would sew this seam, instead of casting on provisionally, as I thought it would look just fine with a neatly sewn seam, it's fairly standard construction, plus I really didn't want to try grafting twisted rib!
So, here I am, finished with the 'armhole up' sections of the back and both fronts. Extra stitches were cast on for each armhole edge, and the whole thing has been joined together and will be knit as one piece down to the bottom (waist edge). I'll be throwing in some short row bust shaping -- not as a wedge-shaped dart, but as separate short rows placed at (somewhat) regular intervals. I'm hoping this will give me the extra length needed for a fuller bust, yet not be as noticeable as an "all at once" dart. We'll see.
Still trying to decide on the button closure. Brave Kristin went with a silk ribbon faced, machine sewn buttons. I'm thinking I may just do one larger button -- maybe one of these?
The yarn I am using is an oldie from the stash -- "Believe" from Classic Elite. Because of the yarn's texture, I decided to forgo the slight textured stitch of the pattern (Lazy Seed Stitch). It didn't show up that well in my swatch with all the little nubs and lumps of my yarn, so why not speed things up with plain stockinette? This yarn is just splitty enough that knitting into the back of the purl stitches is not much fun, but the stiletto points of my Signature needles does help a bit with that.
So, will I finish this before we head into cooler weather? Time will tell!